On April 10, Derrick Gordon became the first openly gay player in Division I men’s college basketball. The University of Massachusetts sophomore came out in a new interview before he detailed the moment he told his family — and the way they reacted.
At 22, Derrick Gordon was done hiding who he was from his family, his friends and his teammates at the University of Massachusetts. After publicly announcing that he was gay on April 10, he also revealed that at first, not all of his family were as understanding as the team was.
Derrick Gordon’s Family & Friends React To Gay News
“I just didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way,” Derrick told ESPN on April 9. “I didn’t want to have to lie or sneak. I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said, ‘Why not me?'”
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So that’s what he did — he came out to his parents, siblings, team and finally, the public. However, it wasn’t an easy pill for his family to swallow.When telling his mother, he had her guess first what was up. And she guessed that he was gay.
“I just froze for about 10 seconds,” his mother, Sandra Gordon told USA Today. “I kind of knew but I didn’t want the answer to be yes. One of the first things he said was, ‘Mom don’t cry.’ After we talked, I told him, ‘I still love you.’ I’m just happy he’s relieved of years of pain. I wish I could have done something to help, but the (support groups) knew how to help him better.”
As for his father, it took a little longer but he “came around” after a few hours, Derrick said. “[He] said he’s always going to love and support me for who I was.”
Derrick’s Brother Couldn’t Believe He Was Gay
Darryl, Derrick’s twin brother and best friend, was in prison when Derrick decided to call and tell him the news. After sleeping on it for a night, Darryl called Derrick and told him he had been crying.
“This is something I can’t believe. This can’t be you. Maybe you need counseling?,” Darryl said. However, Derrick explained that it was him and that he was just looking for support. Now, his twin brother says he does support him.
Overall, Derrick is getting a great deal of support from his family, fans, friends and celebs. Read some tweets below:
— Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) April 9, 2014
I commend Derrick Gordon for coming out. It took a lot of nerves, especially while in college! I have a ton of respect for him!
— Brittney Griner (@brittneygriner) April 9, 2014
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) April 9, 2014
— Jabarie Hinds (@JHinds4) April 9, 2014
What an important thing Derrick Gordon has done by coming out. UMass Div 1 BBall player. Way to go, Derrick! http://t.co/cz9LCYlNUT
— Chely Wright (@chelywright) April 9, 2014
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) April 9, 2014
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) April 9, 2014
— Emily Longeretta